Toast of the town: Mark Hix's crumpets with a twist

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Elevate these toasted treats to an altogether higher level with a variety of luxury toppings.

I always keep a packet of crumpets in my freezer at home as I find that they make a great base for a simple, light, sweet or savoury snack, especially after a late night out. And recently, I've also starting doing an afternoon-tea-and-crumpets offer in my restaurants in Soho and at Selfridges, which seems to be going down well.

Crumpets often feature in my breakfasts and brunches at home as their unusual consistency and texture makes them such a good base for fried, scrambled or poached eggs, or even ingredients such as thinly-sliced tomatoes with olive oil and cheese on top.

I've tried making crumpets on several occasions but I must hold my hands up and say that I think the shop-bought ones are better than those that I can make. Now I will probably be sent lots of fantastic crumpet recipes from readers – and very welcome they will be, too.

Scrambled egg and smoked salmon crumpets

Serves 4

This is perfect for a quick brunch treat. You can either chop the salmon and fold it into the egg or use slices as I have done.

4 crumpets
4 free-range eggs, beaten
A good knob of butter
1tbsp double cream
1tbsp chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
4 or so slices of smoked salmon

Toast the crumpets on both sides. Put the beaten egg, butter and cream in a saucepan, season and cook over a low to medium heat, stirring while they are cooking. When the eggs are almost done, remove from the heat, stir in the chives and transfer to a warm dish so they don't continue cooking. To serve, arrange the salmon on the crumpets and spoon the scrambled eggs over; serve immediately.

Crab and sea vegetable crumpets

Serves 4

You could serve this as a starter for a dinner party or as a light lunch snack. If you live by the sea you will have access to various types of sea vegetables, or you can even buy sea aster these days from branches of Waitrose.

4 crumpets
A handful or so of sea vegetables (sea aster, sea beet, sea purslane etc)
A couple of knobs of butter
100-120g freshly picked white crab
2-3tbsp brown crab meat (optional), mixed with a tablespoon of mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1tbsp olive oil

Toast the crumpets on both sides. Melt the butter in a pan and gently cook the sea vegetables for about a minute until they have just wilted. If using, spoon the brown crab on to the crumpets, then arrange the white crab and sea vegetables on top and lightly season. Spoon a little olive oil over and serve.

Duck liver and wild mushroom crumpets

Serves 4

You can use duck or chicken livers for this dish, but do try to make sure they are fresh and not frozen, as the frozen ones can turn out a little on the mushy side. You can use whatever wild mushrooms you can get your hands on, either a single mushroom or a mixture.

4 crumpets
120-150g fresh duck or chicken livers, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
80g butter
120g wild mushrooms, cleaned
1tbsp chopped parsley

Toast the crumpets on both sides; meanwhile, heat two frying pans and divide the butter between the two. Season and fry the livers in one on a fairly high heat for 3-4 minutes, turning them as they are cooking and keeping them pink. Cook the mushrooms in the other frying pan on a medium heat, seasoning and turning as they are cooking for 3-4 minutes; then mix the mushrooms, liver and parsley together. To serve, place the crumpets on warmed serving plates and spoon the livers, mushrooms and butter over.

Eggy crumpets with ham and Emmental

Serves 4

These are great for a savoury breakfast or a midday snack.

4 crumpets

4 slices of cooked ham
4 slices of Emmental
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable or corn oil for frying

Cut the crumpets in half horizontally and sandwich the ham and cheese between them. Season the eggs, heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan, dip the crumpets in the egg and fry them for 2-3 minutes on each side until crisp; serve immediately.

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